February 26, 2009
An Emotional Affair
“Flee from sexual immorality.”
1 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV)
A few years ago, I watched a friend get tangled up in an emotional affair. She was a strong Christian woman who loved her family but the attraction to this other man seemed unavoidable. She tried to talk herself out of it but her heart played tricks on her mind, and the justifications for letting things continue down this path soon led her to a very dangerous place. She was becoming emotionally attached to this other man.
In a moment of desperation and fear, she confided in me what was going on. As she described how she got pulled into this place, I found myself being challenged by the realization of how subtly this had happened. She hadn’t planned on being emotionally attracted to this other man. As a matter of fact, she’d always prided herself on being a woman of strong conviction and had scoffed at the idea of ever being tempted to have an affair.
It starts off simple enough - his comment that you mull over one too many times, a conversation in which you find a surprising connection, a glance that lingers just a second too long, or one of a thousand other interactions that seem innocent yet aren’t. These are the dangerous seeds that can easily sprout into an emotional affair.
Some think it is a safe way to enjoy the lure of being attracted to someone other than your spouse without crossing any lines. But God boldly and plainly says in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality.” God doesn’t say walk away from sexual immorality. No, He says to flee as if your very life is at stake! The time to prevent an emotional affair is before it ever starts. For me to rest on my spiritual laurels and think that it could never happen to me, made me a prideful, open target for Satan.
Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 26:41,”Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” The Life Application NIV Bible commentary says, “Jesus used Peter’s drowsiness to warn him about the kinds of temptation he would soon face. The way to overcome temptation is to keep watch and pray. Watching means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, spiritually equipped to fight it.”
I now realize that I need to be aware that I am just as prone to this temptation as anyone. One of the best ways to be watchful is to be praying with and for my husband. We need to be open and honest about meeting each other’s needs and investing wisely in our marriage. If we get into a rough place, we need to be willing to get help. I love the quote, “If you are busy rowing the boat, you won’t have time to rock it.” The more my husband and I are taking care of each other, the less attractive temptations will seem.
Sensitive to the Subtleties:
I will have to be honest with myself that temptations do exist. When another man says or does something I wish my husband would say or do and doesn’t, it can make me lessen my husband in my heart and build up this other man. This is a seed of poison. If watered and fed, this seed will sprout and spread and devastate. Seeds seem so small until you realize that within them they contain the potential to become huge. So, I will be steadfast to keep the fertile ground of my heart pure.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). I must park my mind with the truth and the truth is I am married to an amazing man. He is not perfect and sometimes our marriage can be hard, but I made a commitment to Him in a covenant before God and there are no Biblical reasons in our marriage why we should ever part. Therefore, I’ve made the decision not to part - in big ways or small.
My friend did the wisest but hardest thing she could have done in telling me about her emotional affair. Not only did it help her to see she needed to flee and have someone else hold her accountable, but it also made me aware and alert to the dangers lurking in any kind of unhealthy emotional connection with another man.
Dear Lord, may I forever treasure my marriage and see it worthy to be protected. Help me to be a courageous woman who absolutely flees from any and every situation where there is even a hint of danger. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
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Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman: Lies that got me there, Truths that brought me back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz
The Man You Always Wanted is the One You Already Have by Paula Friedrichsen
What are some practical ways I can be:
Sensitive to the Subtleties:
Are there any proactive steps I need to take to guard my heart and protect my marriage today?
Is there any person or any situation I need to flee from?
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105